Coronavirus and online banking: What you need to know

Nearly 75 percent of Americans say they bank online

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As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the United States, many Americans have been told to stay home. That could cause some real disruption for those who visit the bank in person.

One solution: Try banking online.

That’s the advice of financial website NerdWallet, which offers a review of best practices for going digital and explains that, with most institutions, customers can perform the same tasks as they would in person, like managing accounts, paying bills and depositing money.

And if questions arise, writes banking reporter Chanelle Bessette, patrons can usually reach a representative over the phone, as well through social media, email and online chats.

For people not familiar with online banking, though, data privacy can be a big concern.

Security breaches at big firms like Capital One — where the names, addresses, zip codes and other private information of more than 100 million Americans were hacked — are still fresh on the minds of some would-be online bankers. And a recent Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report found that 97 percent of respondents are concerned about data.

CORONAVIRUS IMPACT: STATE BY STATE RESTRICTIONS

Banking websites and mobile apps take many steps to keep your data secure, however, with many offering two-factor authentication and, in some cases, biometric measures, like fingerprints or face recognition, depending on the latest smart device being used.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, officials nationwide have been taking steps to limit spread through social distancing. That includes shutting down offices and other businesses.

CORONAVIRUS HAS NOT CLOSED THESE BUSINESSES

National and local banks are adapting to the pandemic by asking patrons to make appointments and go through drive-through windows. JPMorgan Chase and Citibank encouraging customers to use their mobile apps, in instances where certain branches may be closed.

ATMs, however, are working.

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“It’s everyone’s responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Richard Crone, CEO of Crone Consulting, “For the safety of consumers, the bank staff, all our families and the community, nobody should be walking into a branch. Financial services can all be obtained digitally. It’s a risk we don’t have to take.”

A number of Americans are already banking online. Nearly three-quarters, or 73 percent, most often access their accounts online and through mobile platforms, according to a 2019 American Bankers Association-Morning Consult survey of more than 2,000 adults.

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